Secondary school selection draws mixed reactions

Educationist Dr Steve Sharra has spoken out on the ongoing misunderstanding pertaining to the criteria used in the selection of candidates in the recently released Primary School Leaving Certificate of Education (PSLCE) results.

On Friday, the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) vice president Sidik Mia held a news conference in Lilongwe demanding the immediate suspension of the results citing that the selection of candidates into secondary schools favours one region.

But in an interview with YFM Online and without disputing the widespread claims, Dr Sharra said one of the issues pertaining to the selection of the students is due to high number of students sitting for the examinations against inadequate spaces in secondary schools in the country.

“The number of secondary schools that we have in the country and therefore the number of students that are transitioning to secondary schools, that number is very small and in fact is a huge concern to all of us,” he said.

According to the recently released PSLCE results for the 2018/2019 academic year, out of 282, 428 candidates who sat for the examinations, 218, 756 have passed representing 77.46 percent pass rate.

In addition, 82, 072 candidates have been selected to study in various secondary schools representing 37.5 percent pass rate.

But reacting to the claims both by the MCP and other activists, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has, through a statement, turned down the suspension demands highlighting that it applies a merit based section policy to place students who sit PSLCE into secondary school spaces available in the country.

According to the 2019 PSLCE, Phalombe is the highest performing district with the highest pass percentage followed by Zomba Urban and Mulanje performing exceptionally well as it was the case in 2018 PLSCE.

Whereas Neno, Blantyre Rural, and Rumphi have the least pass percentages. In 2018 PLSCE the least were Blantyre Rural, Chitipa and Mzimba South.

The Secondary system in Malawi is classified into National Secondary Schools (Government and Grant Aided), District Boarding, City Day, District Day and Community Day Secondary Schools.

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